Democratic Education in the Wider Context15-September-2020
One of our organisation’s founding principles is democratic learning for all. Today as throughout our 100-year plus heritage, we are committed to equality of opportunity and equal rights for the benefit of the individual and society as a whole.
A year ago member states of the United Nations (UN) agreed to adopt the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda which aims to enhance fairness and equal opportunity for people across the globe. One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals focuses on democracy and aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies.
This year in 2020, the UN’s International Day of Democracy is observed on 15th September 2020. This annual event has been taking place for 10 years and aims to review the state of democracy in the world and uphold and promote democracy and its principles.
Recent world events have illustrated all too well that there has never been a more important time to recognise and act upon the critical importance of democratic values to improve fair governance and empowered societies. In recent months there has been a ground-swell of opinion and support for campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter” which highlights the importance of democracy and freedom of speech in raising issues that are far reaching and impactful across all our nations.
In addition, the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis has put a spotlight on major social, political and legal challenges globally, and the UN has called for action to address and counteract a number of issues which have arisen through the Covid-19 crisis which may impede democracy. According to the UN, civic society organisations around the world have committed to developing media literacy and digital safety; addressing misinformation and hate speech; supporting training for factually correct journalism; empowering women against gender-based violence; and highlighting the challenges of inequality .
Many of the issues highlighted above have been the subjects of debate and awareness raising across our curriculum, and these values continue to be embedded in our work today and underpin the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Wales has a big part to play in helping to deliver the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We may be a small nation but we have a big heart and the passion to make a real difference.
Drawing on the values and principles of our founders - including WEA Cymru - and over 100 years of experience in democratic education, Addysg Oedolion Cymru ׀ Adult Learning Wales is well placed to continue our civic mission to empower people through learning and promote active democracy. Working with communities and partners, we have a clear plan ahead to meet community learning needs and democracy continues to be a golden thread that ties us together.
We are determined to provide accessible learning opportunities for adults everywhere in Wales. Our objective for our learners to be ambitious and informed, ready to learn throughout their lives is steadfast - where we create a democratic and nurturing environment and enable all our citizens to play a full part in life and work in Wales and the wider world.
International Day of Democracy is an occasion to celebrate our achievements and highlight our work in supporting the value of active citizenship where this also allows people to sharpen their voices for a better future for all.
Kathryn Robson, Chief Executive
Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales